Thank you for 25, 532 turtle hatchlings this pawikan Season 2

Earlier this month, the pawikan babies emerged out of the sand from the last nest in the hatchery adopted by Leeeeeenda. You know what that means: Season 2 for the Pag-asa Pawikan Protection and Conservation Center has ended and it was an unimaginable success, thanks to all of your support!

The total number of turtles released this season? 25, 532 out of 27, 384 eggs nursed by the volunteers. Majority are Olive Ridley but we had a few Green turtles, too.

In Season 1, we were so happy to have released 7, 501 Olive Ridley turtles from 7, 908 collected eggs. Over 300% growth is a lot to celebrate this year and we cannot thank you enough for being with us since Day 1 of this journey.

Thank you for adopting pawikan nests – it was impossible to save these eggs and ensure the hatchlings return to the sea without you. The hatchery remains a community project with no government funding or private grant behind it.

Your donations, much like the baby turtles coming out of their nest, lift the hatchery up, and together we head towards the light: turtles, volunteers, and the community.

Currently, the volunteers are cleaning the hatchery and doing rehab work, especially the important task of changing the sand where the eggs magically transform into baby turtles.

Again, many thanks to all of you who donated post-laying phase of this season. It is hard to wrap our heads around it, how much you have supported us, and all we can do is say our big thanks.

Season 2 was bigger in numbers: it was longer compared to last season and there was an overwhelming number of eggs, but fortunately, supporters and volunteers like you doubled their efforts, too.

We saw growing awareness about the hatchery: there were more nests, more visitors, more inquiries, and more agencies looking for ways to help. While these have yet to translate to sustainability and economic growth for the community, we believe that the trajectory remains positive. After all, the most important job is to release the baby turtles back into the sea and we are grateful to meet and have exceeded this target.

Together, everything is possible. We can continue to act on our values and help these turtles return the world’s oceans to health. It is a big goal but we are closer with each baby turtle that we send home and each mature or juvenile turtle that we rescue.

Thank you for helping the turtles and our community. People like you are saving the world. It sounds dramatic, but when you put it in perspective, it is true. Your iIndividual actions made life possible for 25, 532 turtles. Who knows what would have happened to them otherwise?

Thank you for lifting us up, thank you for powering us forward, thank you for believing in what we do, and thank you for having a heart for the turtles.

See you later this year for the start of Season 3!

War is a mere continuation of politics with other means

In the toolbox of policymakers, war is one among many. When deemed appropriate by the powers that be, war can be chosen as a means of enacting policy – no more or less legitimate than any other – albeit, crucially, not to replace, but to complement other tools of policy.

When the Prussian military General Carl von Clausewitz penned these words in his seminal work On War (“Vom Kriege”) sometime between 1816 and his death in 1831, he was thinking of the Napoleonic wars from the start of the 19th century. Since then, they have been applied and re-applied repeatedly, not least by the German leadership during World War I.

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War, wealth, and women: a short history of Wilhlemsbad State Park

Near our flat is a beautiful and enormous park called Wilhelmsbad, a state-managed park with a lush forest, antique carousel, historic buildings, ruins, and a well. Or so I thought.

Last Monday, Markus and I were treated to a quick history lesson that revealed the juicy, dark origins of Wilhelmsbad. For some unknown reason, this day was special. The family-friendly park I knew will never be the same.

For starters, the normally shuttered carousel with colorful horses and carriages was operating, a queue announcing the surprise in front. I knew it was a really old structure, but I did not know that the Wilhelmsbad Carousel is the oldest preserved fixed carousel in the world. Very cool, right?

The wooden floor made a distinct noise as it went round and round, slowly, but I guess pleasurably, judging by the faces of the guests. It is all mechanized now, of course, but animals pulled it from below historically.

Then, Markus’ parents told us the ruins at the park were open, too. It has been a rarity since the pandemic, I have never seen it open before, and this is even the first time Markus is able to go inside, and he lived here most of his life! I have always been curious what was inside this old castle and had my assumptions based on other similar buildings we previously visited, but I have never been so wrong!

Inside the perpetually locked entrance is a pleasure palace, elegant and colorful, with a grand domed hall to boot. It was only an artificial ruin built to satisfy the whims of Wilhelm I von Hessen-Kassel, the Count of Hanau.

He was a wealthy arms dealer, literally. He supplied Hessian soldiers to both England and USA, benefiting from wars fought in other lands. He also thought his wife Princess Karoline of Denmark was ugly and he blamed her for all his womanizing.

And so the artifical ruin in Wilhelmsbad came to be as his weekend residence for debauchery, and the surrounding park and spa complex a playground to boost his status.

Wilhelmsbad was where the high society gathered at the time, the entire park built around a spring with supposedly and questionably healing powers. Not very many from the aristocracy bathed at this time though, so much so that they had to use flea egg traps – egg-like structures hidden inside clothes to collect fleas that live on the body. Yikes!

The park and spa complex is one of the oldest English landscaped parks in the world. Apart from the forest, spring, ruins, and carousel, Wilhelmsbad also has a comedy house, hermitage, rock passages, devil’s bridge, snail mountain, and playground, all to keep the rich and famous of those days entertained. Think an exclusive wonderland where Jay-Z, the Russian oligarchs, and the Pussy Cat dolls would spend a weekend or two partying.

Today, Wilhelmsbad is a public park enjoyed by everybody.

Sunny weekend in Rüdesheim

Our Easter weekend was spent in Rüdesheim, a small town by the Rhine, well-known for its scenic views, history, and nice wine. From the window of our small hotel room, the Rhine hypnotizes as it gently moves and sparkles in the sun.

The weather was great and I was so happy. Ships, instead of ducks, passed by regularly, some carrying tourists, others cargo. We took one of these relaxing passenger ships to go to the foot of Germania, Germany’s kind-of-but-not-really version of Lady Liberty.

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Of course, we have to talk about eggs

Did you all have an awesome Easter holiday, friends? My very best wishes! It was really lovely for us. It was my first Easter in Germany actually, but more on that next time. I have an important job today:

I want to be the Easter Bunny, albeit a tad late, and deliver great news to Betty, Michelle, Rebecca, and Brad – your eggs are now pawikan!

Please meet your pawikan hatchlings:

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My first snow fall in Germany

Snow announced April’s arrival. As if a heavenly baker started sifting powdered sugar from above, I noticed the small, feathery snow flakes descending from outside our window.

I wondered if time slowed down because I could see each dot swaying, suspended in the air for a moment, and carried off by the wind somewhere. This is my first snow here, have I told you that? And I did not expect it to be like this.

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Micah’s Spring kitchen

If you follow us on Instagram, you would have seen on our daily stories how much I am enjoying cooking this season. Is it me or does Spring make everything taste better?

Crisp, fresh, and vibrant, there is plenty to love in the produce here. Our fridge cannot be any fuller! The strawberries are plump, scented, and incredibly affordable. I cannot dream hard enough for the same prices to appear in The Phillipines.

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We have green sea turtles for Sean!

Some exciting news: Sean’s nest adopted for his grandson Leo surprised us by revealing themselves as the endangered green sea turtles. This is the first time we saw these babies at the hatchery. Aren’t they the cutest thing ever?

We got the news and photos this morning and I could not wait to share it with you, especially with Sean. Many thanks again for supporting the turtles! With hope, these green sea turtles will survive and roam the seas for the next 70 years or more!

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Beautiful things, beautiful weekend

Let me just get this out of my chest:

Why are these cherry blossoms so pretty? How is this legal? It is as if the gods ate cotton candy and these soft, delicate blooms are the crumbs that fell from the heavens.

My brain, literally, can’t process it.

We walked at a nearby park yesterday and it was pink everywhere. For a change, I was not the only one taking photos of flowers!

Everytime I see these cherry blossoms, a flood of joy rushes through my body. They are so freaking beautiful!

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